School children will continue to study at home for at least the next two weeks starting on March 30, the Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Center) said on Monday. Schools are likely to remain closed until the end of April and exams could be canceled.
Speaking at a government press conference, Reps said Estonia was one of the first countries to close schools during the pandemic and enrol children in distance learning. So far the move has paid off and children seem to be settling into the new routine well, according to feedback.
"The fact that our students are studying, and are learning wholeheartedly, gives us the confidence to hope that students will not be able to talk about [experiencing] a bigger backlog at home," the minister said.
Until May 1, while the emergency is in place, no exams or tests will be held, Reps confirmed. "If it is possible to re-enter school from May 1, then final exams can be taken between the end of May and the beginning of June. Today we are working on the assumption that both possibilities are on the table," said Reps.
The possibility that school exams can be taken while at home is not being considered by the ministry, as there would be problems with observation. "There are other alternatives under consideration - for example, to divide the exams not into one large hall but into different classrooms. But It is too early to say whether schoolchildren will be allowed out of their houses, she said.
Reps said universities which rely on school exams to admit future students are in discussions with the ministry about how to manage this situation and are willing to be flexible.
The Ministry of Education has said that if the emergency situation is extended to the beginning of the summer recess, exam results will be based on grades from school work.
The spring holiday starting in the last week of April will not be canceled, the minister confirmed.
Editor: Helen Wright